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First World War Tank

the presentation
From the Colin Bryant Collection - Courtesy of Rushden Museum

Showing the tank was placed just inside the gates.
Possibly removed in 1939 but the concrete is still there in 2016!

The Presentation - The Argus Newspaper
Lieut. A. L. Robinson (who handed over the Tank to Rushden), Councillor J. Spencer, J.P. (chairman - War Savings Committee), Councillor Fred Knight, J.P. (chairman - Urban Council), Capt. Macloed, Wellingborough (who drove the Tank on its last journey), Miss Joy Claridge (who christened the Tank), and Councillor C. E. Bayes.

the crew christening the tank

The Tank Crew

Including two local men, taken in front of the Tank
on its final stand in the Park.

Little Miss Joy Claridge (granddaughter of the chairman of Rushden Urban Council) christens the Tank “Rushden” by breaking a bottle of wine.


The Rushden Echo, 20th February, 1920, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Tank Presented to Rushden - Liberal Subscriptions to War Loans - Public “Christening”

The tank presented to Rushden by the War Savings Association to mark the great part which the town contributed towards the successful issue of the war by subscribing liberally to the various war loans, was officially presented and accepted on Saturday.

The tank
The tank
It is a Mark 4 type (neither a pioneer nor of the latest) with a 120h.p. six cylinder Daimler engine. The tank had been brought straight across from the Continent, but although it looked drab and dirty, it bore few marks of battle. The engine looked anything but serviceable, and it was to the credit of the crew that the Tank was moved by its own power in a few hours after the men arrived.

On Saturday afternoon thousands of people lined the route from the Station to Spencer Park. Rushden Town Band, conducted by Mr. T. Robinson, played suitable music as the Tank was being started. The unusual monster rolled very gracefully down towards the bridge, turned round with perfect ease and headed for the Park. At the junction of Washbrook-road and High-street a huge pile of wood had been placed at the instruction of the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin), to let the public see a little of what Tanks are capable. The Tank found the wood no obstacle, but simply waddled over it with ease. Arrived at the Park, the Tank went in through a gap formed by part of the fence having been previously removed. It was driven on to the concrete bed and placed in a central position with no difficulty. The crew, under Lieut. A. L. Roberts, were: Sergt. K. Macleod (son of Supt. Macleod of Wellingborough), Corpl. F. Sturman and Gunner Downs.

A ceremony of presenting and christening the Tank then took place. Councillors Fred Knight, J.P., J. Spencer, J.P., and C. E. Bayes, Lieut. Roberts, and Miss Joy Claridge (granddaughter of Mr. F. Knight), mounted to the top of the Tank. Lieut. Roberts presented the Tank to Mr. Spencer (chairman of the Rushden War Savings Association) and said that the type was first used on the Somme in 1916, Sergt. Macleod having driven one at that time. (Applause). Their colours, brown, red, and green, meant “Through mud and blood to green fields of peace.” (Applause). Mr. Spencer said he had pride and pleasure in accepting the Tank and in presenting it to Rushden. He hoped they would continue to invest in National Savings.

Mr. Knight accepted the Tank on behalf of the town and said it would be a reminder to rising generations of what had been done for them in the war. (Hear, hear). Rushden had sent 2,500 men and had subscribed large sums of money to help finance the war. (Applause).

Miss Claridge, in the regretted absence through indisposition of Mrs. F. Knight, broke a bottle of wine over the Tank and christened it “Rushden,” the band meantime playing the National Anthem.


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